Scarless & Sacred is LIVE! #TheChicagoWar #MafiaRomance
Scarless & Sacred is live on all vendors today!

I am so excited to share the third War novel with the fans of his series. Theo DeLuca and Evelina Conti are one heck of a couple, not to mention how they stir up a lot of things that had been pushed to the side or even unknown by the Chicago families.

Needless to say, they make an interesting pair together.

And they don't give anyone much of a choice but to ... well, start the war all over again.

Read on for Prologue.

You can find Scarless & Sacred on the following vendors:

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BLURB:

Secrets and wars leave the deepest scars.

Evelina Conti has always worn a mask. She is an Outfit principessa, respected and adored. She wasn’t allowed to be anything else. Her father went from a grieving husband to the Outfit boss, and now that Riley heads the family, Eve is more suffocated than ever. No matter how much she hates it, the Conti princess still has a role to play. A little attention from Theo DeLuca seems innocent enough, but nothing is when it comes to him. And certainly not when everyone believes that Theo is out to kill her.

Theo DeLuca has a target on his back. His biggest problem is figuring out who put it there when everyone is aiming at him. He doesn’t need a woman causing him issues, but the Conti princess keeps showing up at the worst times, and he’s the one left saving her. Between the men surrounding him that Theo can’t trust, and the past he can’t outrun, Evelina might be the one thing he doesn’t have to question. But when Riley decides to use Eve as his next move, even Theo might not be able to save her.

The war in Chicago is not even close to being over. This game is deadly. Each hand played cuts another mark into someone else. The Outfit boss is struggling while the men around him are rallying. As the body count continues to rise, the families keep losing.


Sacrifices are a part of war. No one will walk away from this without scars.

***

PLEASE NOTE: Scarless & Sacred is not intended to be read as a standalone in this series. It is the third book in the series and should be read after the first two books. Trigger Warning: Scarless features graphic violence and scenes of past abuse.


PROLOGUE:

Parties should bring happiness. Evelina Conti felt anything but happy as she watched the guests at her eighteenth birthday mill around with drinks in one hand, laughter abound, and all eyes on her. She knew what they were thinking.
The Conti princess.
Finally of age, ready for the Outfit, and just waiting for the right last name to come along.
Evelina found her mother and father in the crowd. Her parents had thrown the biggest bash the Outfit had seen this year. They’d gone all out for Evelina’s birthday. Mia stood at her husband’s side with an honest smile for the crowd and an eye on her husband. God knew if she didn’t keep an eye on him, Riley would run to the first good-looking piece of ass he could find.
Sighing, Evelina leaned against the wall and tried to keep from being noticed. It was hard when the party was for her, and she was supposed to be front row and center for all the people.
When it came to these families, the Trentinis, Rossis, DeLucas, and her own, the Contis, nothing was ever real. It was all for show.
The Outfit had always been like that. Who had the most of what, who was trying to step over who, and who could stay on top for the longest. Sure, they played a good game and made nice at the dinner table like all good mafia families did, but jealousy, greed, and violence were always right around the corner.
Evelina felt like her birthday was nothing more than another day. Only this time, she was her family’s prize. She was their one thing to show off. The only daughter, a perfect daughter. She was at a prime age for her father to begin looking for someone to marry her off to. She could be the Conti family’s way to the top in the Outfit, or another crime Syndicate elsewhere.
Her future was uncertain.
This was not a happy day.
“Hey,” Adriano said, sliding in beside Evelina.
She gave her younger brother a false smile. “Hey.”
“I was outside admiring your new wheels, at least Dad went with a good brand.”
“I guess.”
Riley had handed Evelina over the keys to a beautiful electric blue two-seater BMW that morning. The car sported a huge pink bow on the hood and white leather on the inside with blue highlights. It was stunning. It was also another way for her father to control her.
The car wasn’t freedom as Riley could easily take it away. It probably had trackers on it. Turning eighteen didn’t mean a damn thing, as she was still under her father’s thumb.
“Mom looks happy,” Adriano noted.
“As long as Dad keeps his hands and stares to her, sure.”
Adriano chuckled dully. “Truth. Where’s your friend?”
“Hmm?”
“Lily. Shouldn’t she be here?”
Lily DeLuca had been Evelina’s best friend for as long as she could remember. The two went to the same private schools growing up and had always been close. But graduation had come and gone. The girls had left the boarding school to come back to life. Evelina was the only one to return to Chicago.
“No, she’s not here,” Evelina said.
Adriano frowned. “Where in the hell is she?”
“Dino let her go overseas. She’s backpacking and stuff. Traveling.”
Being free, having fun, and getting away from here.
Evelina loved her friend, but she was jealous of her, too. Lily’s circumstances were not the same as Evelina’s. Lily’s two older brothers raised her while Evelina was forced home, made to pick a college in Chicago, and do her duty as her father’s daughter. Lily’s oldest brother, Dino, had set his sister free to do what she wished.
“She’ll be back,” Adriano said, shrugging. “You can’t stay away from family for long.”
Evelina doubted it. Lily hated the Outfit for leaving her an orphan.
“Whatever,” Evelina said, pushing off the wall. “I’m going to take a walk.”
“Don’t go far.”
Right. Because their father would still want to show her off as much as he could.
“Dad was talking about having a dance with you later or whatever,” her brother added.
Evelina shot Adriano a look from the side, taking her brother in. Adriano looked older than his sixteen years. But that wasn’t what Evelina noticed the most about her brother. He seemed tired of the day, guests, and party.
Since she had returned home from boarding school, she also noticed Adriano was beginning to dip his fingers in the family business. That was the thing about the mafia. Once you got your fingers wet, they pushed you right in the pool head first.
Evelina couldn’t help but wonder if anyone had given her brother a choice in the matter. Had Adriano stepped into la famiglia because he wanted to, or because their father had shoved him into it? She hoped he was better than that and better than this. She hoped Adriano was better than making his wife cry, wonder, and wish.
Better than their mother and father, anyway.
“Don’t be like Dad,” Evelina said.
Adriano’s brow shot up high. “Hmm?”
“You heard me.”
Don’t be like him, she wanted to say again. Don’t be an asshole. Don’t run around on your wife. Don’t put your children on show for this stupid game they all play. Be better than Riley Conti.
“Be a good man, Adriano,” Evelina said quietly.
Adriano smiled. “I’m trying.”
“I hope so. Cover for me if Dad comes looking?”
“Sure, Eve.”
Evelina slipped away from the crowd when she was sure nobody would notice. She wasted no time slipping into the attached garage for a breather away from the people. The garage should have been empty except for her parents’ vehicles, but it wasn’t. She walked into a glaring contest between two men.
Dino DeLuca stood toe to toe with his brother, Theo. There was a five-year age gap between the two brothers with Theo being the younger brother at only twenty-three. Both had an arm and leg inside the Outfit, considering their uncle Ben DeLuca was the boss’s underboss for the operation and the DeLuca side of things had a great deal of power. Evelina could count on one hand the amount of times she had witnessed the two DeLuca brothers share a conversation. Usually, they stuck to opposite sides of the room, did business in passing, and said very little to one another.
She didn’t know why they weren’t close, but she couldn’t remember a time when they had publically fought, either.
“Christ, Theo,” Dino hissed, taking a step closer to his younger brother with his fists clenched at his sides. “You just fucking got the goddamn button and already, you’re going to screw it up. I can’t clean any messes for you, all right. Not anymore. You’re in with the family, you clean up your own issues. But use your head. And that does not mean sliding in with another family’s crew, especially not the Trentinis. Jesus.”
Theo sneered, not backing down for a second. “Is this about business or something else?”
“Don’t walk that line, Theo.”
“I think I want to.”
Dino’s gaze narrowed. “Don’t forget where you came from, little brother. Don’t forget who made it possible for you to get in with the Outfit, keep your last name and be proud of it. I did that—don’t fuck it up for us, Theo.”
“Why in the hell are you so focused on what I’m doing, huh? You didn’t give a damn before, Dino.”
“Stick to the DeLuca side of the Outfit, Theo. Snakes like Joel Trentini will only bite you when you’re not looking.”
“Who I do business with is none of your concern, bro.”
Dino scoffed. “Right. You keep thinking that.”
With those words, Dino stalked past his brother and opened up the side door on the garage that led to the outside. He slammed the door so hard, the wall shuddered. Evelina’s legs finally caught up to her brain and she turned around to go back inside the house.
Theo DeLuca’s dark tenor stopped her. “Didn’t anyone ever teach you that spying on people can get you in trouble, princess?”
Evelina scowled as she met Theo’s brown gaze over her shoulder. “Don’t call me that.”
“What, does it offend your sensibilities, princess?”
“Stop,” Evelina warned.
“Well, does it?”
“No, but does it look like I’m wearing a crown?”
“Princesses wear tiaras. Crowns are meant for queens, babe.” Theo smirked wickedly, his gaze taking her in from the heels on her feet to the dress that fell just above her knees. “But that’s all right, too.”
Evelina swallowed the lump forming in her throat. “Why is that?”
“Queens make all the rules—they don’t get to have much fun.”
Damn.
Evelina was unnerved under Theo’s stare. The guy had never paid her much attention when they spent time near one another. He was Lily’s older brother, sure, but he stuck to his own family and Evelina stuck to hers. Plus, he was five years older than her. They never had anything besides Lily to talk about and he didn’t seem interested in chatting about his sister to Evelina.
“Are you always this quiet?” Theo asked.
“No.”
“Can you speak more than a few words at a time?”
Evelina glared. “You’re an ass.”
Theo grinned. “Not always.”
She didn’t like how his amusement made his features darken, like something wicked was right on the tip of his tongue. It only added to the sexiness that Theo seemed to sport alongside his aloof attitude and quick tongue. With sharp cheekbones, an infallible smirk, a cut-from-steel jaw, and brown eyes that were almost black, Theo was downright fucking gorgeous. There was enough stories about Theo DeLuca and women to go around, as far as that went. Evelina didn’t want to be one of them, but she couldn’t deny that something about Theo was interesting.
That was a problem.
Evelina couldn’t afford to even consider getting mixed up with someone like Theo. For one, because she wasn’t allowed to. Dating was a no-go with her father’s rules, as was any kind of behavior that would shame her family. Two, because Theo irked Evelina.
In a really good way.
Just standing there watching him watch her, Evelina was curious, anxious, and bothered. All kinds of bothered. She liked it.
“I should go back—”
“Inside?” Theo interrupted with a cock of his brow.
“Yeah.”
“Happy birthday, by the way.”
Evelina cracked a smile. “Thanks.”
“Eighteen, right?”
“Like you don’t already know,” she said.
“Oh, I know.” Theo tipped his chin in her direction, smirking in that way of his. “College in the fall?”
“That’s the plan.”
“A dorm?”
Evelina fidgeted on the spot, unsure of what Theo was getting at. “Hopefully.”
Theo shoved his hands in his pockets in the most unconcerned fashion Evelina had ever seen. He walked the length of the garage and stepped up beside Evelina in the doorway. His fit, tall form crowded her against the doorjamb without even trying. He was tall enough that she had to look up slightly to see his eyes.
“Make sure you get a dorm,” Theo said. “No matter what you need to do to get out from under your daddy’s thumb, do it.”
Evelina nodded. “I’m trying.”
“Lily always said you never got to have any fun.”
She didn’t have a response for that because it was the truth. 
Apparently, Theo wasn’t expecting one. “Even in boarding school, where Riley couldn’t see you, she said you followed the rules.”
“You’re not a girl,” Evelina said.
Theo chuckled. “No.”
“And you’re not Riley Conti’s child.”
“Good thing.”
“Why?”
“Because that would make this really awkward,” Theo murmured, still watching her like she might bolt at any moment. “Get the dorm, Evelina.”
“Eve.”
Theo flashed his white teeth in a sinful smile. “Get it. Have some fun. Just be smart about it.”
“What kind of fun?”
“The bad kind. It’s the only kind of fun there is.”
“Princesses get to have all the fun, huh?” she asked.
“Whenever the king isn’t looking, babe.” Theo’s right hand left his pocket, and before Evelina realized what happened, he’d caught her bottom lip under the pad of his thumb. “And do me a favor.”
Evelina caught his gaze and held it, trying to figure out Theo’s game. “What is that?”
“Give me a call after you’ve gone out and had that fun. You know, once you’ve had enough.” 
“Had enough of what?”
Theo’s thumb swept her lip before he dropped his hand and stepped inside the house.
“Evelina!”
Her father’s shout echoed through the house as Theo DeLuca disappeared down the hall.
“Had enough of what?” she asked again.
Theo ticked a finger in the air, never turning back. “Of acting like a princess.”  




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